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Finding Mercury in lower Lynx Creek


Prescottstyle

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Its been a while since we've been panning in Lynx Creek, last week we tried an area off Stoneridge Parkway in Prescott Valley, and mercury was showing up in the fines. My son brought his pan up to me and there it was.. a couple of mercury balls, a touch smaller than a BB in his black sand. He dug this up right in the middle of the creek and recovering a few flakes of gold as well. Historically mercury has been used in this area and from what I read, quite extensively.

How should we handle this? I really don't want to put ourselves in harms way, but this is a great urban panning area! Is there protective gear we should use?

Thanx in advance for your help. Paul

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You don't need any protective gear unless you try to release any gold trapped in the Hg. Liquid mercury is pretty safe. Most of us old farts used to play with the stuff like it was a toy. Keep any Hg separate from the gold....it will coat gold very fast.

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My son had some of the same. He clamped spoon in a vise checked windage and propped propane torch under spoon. Held his breath and lit it and scrambled away up wind. Came back in a lil bit and retrieved his gold minus mercury

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I used to have a blast with mercury as a kid. Rolling it around, gooshing it.

Im still here :)

Kind of makes you wonder about the fish that are in the lake???

Tom H.

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Paul,

The mercury will not hurt you in it's liquid form if you avoid unnecessary contact with it, the fumes of mercury can be harmful if you breathe it, that being said mercury evaporates readily at room temperature when in contact with air, if you keep the mercury cover with water it will not evaporate, so as mentioned keep the mercury covered gold in a separate container filled with water and a tight fitting lid, if and when you get enough mercury covered gold worth the time to remove the gold, do so in the correct and safe manner with retort, most retorts can be very dangerous if you don't know what you're doing and can explode if not done correctly, but a very safe retort that will not explode that anyone can use can be made, see the following.

Here are parts 1 through 4 of a Youtube videos series of how you can make or have made a safe retort so you can remove the mercury safely yourself or if you don't feel that you can do it correctly to avoid releasing the mercury fumes, maybe you can get someone else to remove the mercury.

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An older sister of mine got some in chemistry class that they rubbed on dimes to see how shiny they could get, Of course in younger years law let you use almost anything with chemicals...I sprayed weeds all day with leaking spray gun using 2-4-D all Summer long when I worked for an irrigation Dist.

But I have also had my fair share of Cancer and that may have had something to do with it :grr01: Of course in those days there were no warning labels.

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Gold tainted with a coating of mercury can be smelted. Licensed smelters (like the ones you ship your gold and silver scrap to) have equipment and ventilation systems that minimize the release of mercury vapors. As pointed out above, mercury and cinnabar give off vapors when exposed to air -- especially during warm or hot weather and particularly if exposed to direct sunlight. The Hg molecules then begin coating and accumulating on nearby objects (such as rugs, furniture fabric, plants, etc). These molecules in turn rub off onto passing things that come into contact with it (like toddlers, pets, etc) and eventually find their way into something's mouth or lungs. It is good practice to keep Hg completely covered in water and tightly sealed, and it may also be a good idea not to even keep it inside a dwelling or a place frequented by people.

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Wow people, thanks for the responses. Sunday we panned the same hole, which is directly behind the Sams Club in Prescott Valley and found only gold this time. The Boys really like this spot as it regularly produces fine gold. We'll all watch the videos tonight for a little science home evening! Thanks again, Paul

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